Diving Santo & The Coolidge

Fe Edwards from Dive Adventures recently trekked over to Santo to dive one of the most famous wrecks in the world, the SS President Coolidge. At almost 200m long and done as a shore dive, the Coolidge is the most accessible wreck dive in the world!

The SS President Coolidge

For two years Jen and I had been talking and dreaming of Santo, “we should so go” was quite a regular comment that would come up but it always got put in the “we’ll get around to it one day” folder. So when I heard that she had quit her job and had 3 weeks of travel before returning to the UK for good, it was all systems go with now or never.

After a planning session, one night at the pub, dates were decided on and the holiday was ready to be booked in. We left Sydney one Sunday morning and flew to Santo with a quick stop in Port Vila. We were met at the airport and swiftly transferred to our accommodation at Coral Quays Resort.

The first morning we woke to hear the rain falling heavily on the roof but this wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits, after all we were off to dive the Coolidge. We geared up in the rain but it didn’t matter because we were itching to get in the water and get wet asap. After a winter of diving on the NSW coast it was amazing to be in the clear tropical waters of Vanuatu.

    

It is mind blowing that something so amazing can be accessed straight off shore!

Jen & I were excited as we started our descent to “her”, we had seen images of her but we didn’t know what to expect when we did see her then out of the blue the dark shadow of the wreck emerged, it was huge!!! Our first dive was on the promenade deck which has unfortunately fallen in on itself but with a bit of imagination you can easily picture what it would have been like. It was an easy dive, to make sure everything was ok with the gear and for the guides to work out every ones capabilities.

On the third day we were ready for “The Lady” possibly the most famous area of the ship. She originally lived in the smoking room but was part of the promenade deck that has collapsed over time. She was found and moved to the dining room. There is quite a big swim leading up to her and from a long way away I could just see a white glow. I was quite excited, this was it I was going to see “The Lady”. She didn’t disappoint and I think I went a little over board (excuse the pun) with the photos.

'The Lady' is probably the most iconic part of the ship

Another highlight of the trip was a night dive where we had the opportunity to see flashlight fish which are found around the wreck at night. They have bioluminescent organs that glow to attract pray as well as divers as we were mesmerised by them and we could have stayed all night to watch. They are fascinating and something you don’t see all the time.

This ship is enormous, it absolutely dwarfs divers!

Another highlight of the trip was a night dive where we had the opportunity to see flashlight fish which are found around the wreck at night. They have bioluminescent organs that glow to attract pray as well as divers as we were mesmerised by them and we could have stayed all night to watch. They are fascinating and something you don’t see all the time.

The Coolidge is fantastic!!! There is just so much to see. We did 11 dives on it and could have easily done more. There are just so many areas of the boat that I haven’t mentioned, the engine room, the galley, the swimming pool (try counting & remembering the number of coloured tiles in the pool when you are narked!) and don’t forget the stern.

The dive operators were fantastic and Jen & I both felt we were looked after both in and out of the water. They know their way around the wreck with their eyes closed.

After 7 nights it was time to say good bye. We had a fantastic time and would love to return one day and see what we didn’t get a chance to see.

If you too, would like to be enthralled by the majesty of the Coolidge, just do it. Don’t put it off as long as Jen & I did!!

If you’re interested in diving one of the most talked about and dived wrecks in the world, why not join us on our next trip!!

 

  

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